27 March 2013


Flu or cold is a disease commonly found in people's daily lives and easily transmitted in the community. Generally, if an adult suffering for flu, that person doesn’t go to the doctor. They are more often stopped by the pharmacy or the supermarket to buy the-counter cold medicines. This is quite appropriate for flu, and must be accompanied by adequate rest, drink lots of water and eat nutritious food. With such a simple way, flu will pass. But, for some people and situations you should be more critical in choosing cold medicines sold in the market.

Most cold medicines on the market is a combination of several active ingredients of drugs, such as acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine maleate, pseudoephedrine, PPA (PhenylPropanolAmin), caffeine, codeine and dextromethorphan. Those active ingredients are sold in dosage which is safe according to health department in each country, but what should be to consider is the side effects.

Pseudoephedrine or PPA is a stimulator drug for heart and blood vessel (adrenergic) For those of you who suffer from high blood pressure and certain heart problems avoid using this medication. These drugs may increase the work of the heart and blood pressure. But, of course this is not the case if consumed with relatively good blood pressure.


Chlorpheniramine maleate is known for making real drowsiness according to dose. Generally cold medicines contain loading dose of 1 mg of material. For some other drugs, the dose can be 2 mg and this dose cause drowsiness or lowering concentrations and diminished reflexes. So, it is advisable not to drink this content for those who work requiring high alert and reflexes as a driver, factory worker with a machine, or a student exam season.

Anti-allergic that doesn’t cause drowsiness is Acrivastine, loratadine, Deksloratadin, Cetirizine HCL, Levocetirizine HCL, and HCL Feksofenadine Mizolastine. Well, if you really need a flu drug that doesn’t cause drowsiness, make sure first to consult with your doctor and pharmacist, because those drug above are 100% of prescription and should be sold by prescription.

Also be careful if you choose cold medicines which contain paracetamol in combination with caffeine. Caffeine as we know it is a stimulant compounds contained in coffee, tea and chocolate. Well the same caffeine is used in combination with paracetamol due to the effect of potentiation (strengthening the effectiveness) of paracetamol.

But, for those who are sensitive to caffeine, caffeine will cause headache, tension, sleeplessness and even migraine attacks for those who have the migraine. So, if you are sensitive to caffeine, or you are a no coffee or you have a history of migraine, you should look for a combination of paracetamol without the caffeine.

Paracetamol though the 'safest' pain killer or analgesic than other types (such as aspirin, mefenamic acid, etc.), still has side effects, especially to the stomach. Inflammation of the stomach even to gastrointestinal bleeding can occur if use too often, a long time and taken in empty stomach. 1 tablet of paracetamol 500mg should be taken no earlier than every 4 hours.

Last one is about cough medicine. In principle, do not take cough medicine carelessly, matching the type of cough you had. In general, cough can be divided into two types, dry cough and phlegm.

Dry cough is usually not a foreign substance expenditure mechanism, and may be part of other diseases. Coughing like this is useless and should be stopped. For this, there are medications that work in the brain that suppress cough excitatory or known as antitussives. Some drugs that are of this type and is often used is dextromethorphan, noskapin, and codeine. They only available by prescription.

Imagine what happens if you are coughing up phlegm taking these drugs? What happens is you cough reflex is inhibited by the brain as a result all lenders retained and assembled cover your airways. Then, you could be crowded and even fatal.

Instead, coughing is the body's mechanism to remove foreign substances from the respiratory tract, including the sputum. This cough should not be suppressed, so that foreign substances can be removed. Medications can help spending phlegm called expectorant. These drugs are usually also stimulate phlegm cough that occurs expenditure. There are also medications that can help thin mucus so easily removed is called mucolytics. Examples of expectorant is ammonium chloride, glyceryl guaiacol, ipekak, etc.. Mucolytics is bromhexin, acetylcisitein, and ambroxol. So, if you cough up phlegm, choose medications that contain substances such as mentioned above.

So, be careful in choosing cold medicine, if you have other illnesses before, such as hypertension, should consult a doctor as a wise move.

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